Eric (Ric) Johns was born in Philadelphia, PA. A Navy Junior he lived in Panama City, Chicago, San Diego, Norfolk, Caracas, Charleston, and Arlington. He made his first overnight cruise as a Sea Cadet in USS ROWAN (DD 782) in 1970. While still in high school he enlisted in the reserve crew of USS SHIELDS (DD 596) where he served in the deck division. He reported to USNA for plebe summer in June 1971. He graduated with honors with a BS in System Engineering.
Upon graduation ENS Johns reported to USS HOEL (DDG 13) where he served as Main Propulsion Assistant and then ASW Officer. After three years and a WestPac tour LTJG Johns reported to the Naval Surface Weapons Center (NSWC) Dahlgren, VA. While there he was a system engineer for DDG 2 and DD 963 ASW improvements and was selected for Engineering Duty Officer. LT Johns next reported to the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Weapon System Engineering in 1982.
Following Engineering Duty Officer School LT Johns reported to the Naval Ship Weapons System Engineering Station (NSWSES) in Port Hueneme CA, initially as a Terrier test team Officer-In-Charge (OIC). He later served as project officer in USS NORTON SOUND (AVM 1) for Aegis, Standard Missile, Vertical Launch System, and Tomahawk at-sea testing. With Terrier he fired over 50 missiles. Aboard Norton Sound he coordinated the largest chaff drop on the West coast for Aegis/Standard Missile tests and participated in the first at-sea vertical launches of Tomahawk.
In 1986 LCDR Johns reported as OIC of the FFG-7 Combat System Test Center in Ronkonkoma NY. As OIC he coordinated the transition of the FFG-7 combat system to the next-generation UYK-43 computer and Mk 92/6 fire control system. He also helped transfer the test center to SWOS when the FFG 7 development program shut down.
In 1990 LCDR Johns transferred to NSWC, beginning a 16 year run as a Naval Officer (retiring in 1994), contractor, and civil servant. He initiated development of the Tactical Decision Support System (TDSS) that replaced a 7 person team needed for paper-based ASW operations with a two person computer assisted system. He continued this development through two more generations, ultimately replacing all paper-based CIC plotting systems and bringing advanced ASW decision support tools to the fleet. He received the C.J Rorie award as Outstanding Military Contributor and two Technology to Sea awards, presented annually to the team that provided the best technology tool to the fleet. Mr. Johns has been to sea in 25+ ships, including a Venezuelan submarine. He has also been published in Naval Institute Proceedings, winning one essay contest and taking second place in the annual Arleigh Burke contest.
In 2006 Mr. Johns joined the National Security Agency. He served in a variety of billets including Project Director for Usability Engineering and also Project Director of the cyber-analytics Rapid Prototype team. He retired from federal service in July 2013 with over 37 years combined service.
Mr Johns is currently volunteering as an instructor for SI 110, the plebe cyber-security course. He and his wife live in Annapolis.